Index

DATE=3/24/2000 TYPE=WORLD OPINION ROUNDUP TITLE=PRESIDENT CLINTON IN SOUTH ASIA NUMBER=6-11744 BYLINE=ANDREW GUTHRIE DATELINE=WASHINGTON EDITOR=ASSIGNMENTS TELEPHONE=619-3335 CONTENT= INTRO: For the first time in 22 years, a U-S president is touring the Indian sub-continent with stops in Bangladesh, India, and a brief stopover in Pakistan. The world press is giving Bill Clinton generally good marks for the visit, which many papers feel was overdue. However there is generally little expectation in the global press that India and Pakistan will heed Mr. Clinton's call for dialogue in their dispute over Kashmir. And his urging both nations to sign the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty on nuclear weapons also appears, to the world press, to be falling on deaf ears, in part because the U-S Senate also has rejected the pact. We get a sampling now of how some of the world's major dailies view the U-S presidential trip now from _________ in this week's World Opinion Roundup. TEXT: Many newspapers feel the president's stop in New Delhi, the major visit of this week-long trip, had taken an extremely positive turn after his address to a joint session of the Indian Parliament. However there was considerable skepticism about the possibility of success on either the Kashmir problem or the Nuclear Test Ban treaty. Nevertheless, that did not stop many dailies from considering the trip well worth while. We begin our sampling in the southern Indian city of Madras, where The Hindu notes: VOICE: ... President ... Clinton's visit to India has inaugurated what could be a brighter and more promising chapter in the history of the relationship between India and the United States, which has for long been a troubled and difficult one... No diplomatic "spin" or attempt to finesse [the] differences [between the two countries] ... will camouflage the actual fact that beneath the veneer of cordiality ... the American strategic view of the subcontinent has not changed in essence. TEXT: To Bombay now, for this offering from the Indian Express. VOICE: Sense and sensitivity marked President bill Clinton's address to the joint session of Parliament ... [Mr.] Clinton, an accomplished master in the art of partnership, was remarkably positive in defining the perceived Indo-U-S partnership in terms of economy; market is the motivation ... The U-S president is in South Asia not to mediate on Kashmir. Still [President] Clinton's question is relevant here: Are you ready, or do you have the determination, to resolve it yourself? TEXT: In Asian Age's editorial, we read: VOICE: The ... president's address to Parliament was a diplomatic marvel ... directed at allaying the worst suspicions, and projecting Uncle Sam as a benign brother wedded to the same democratic interests as India. But the language did not hide the harsh truth. And that was: There is no shift in U-S policy on non- proliferation, India-Pakistan relations, and Kashmir ... Warmth and cordiality apart, the strategic results of the visit will unfold slowly. TEXT: The enthusiasm for the president's visit was somewhat more restrained in Pakistan, which he visits Saturday. In Lahore, the Urdo-language daily Khabrain comments: VOICE: The Indian leadership has adopted a very aggressive posture over the last 10 months. Now that President Bill Clinton is in India, they (the Indian leadership) have held out all sorts of assurances just to appease President Clinton. ... Not much success seems to have been achieved during the Clinton-(Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee meeting, however. TEXT: Turning to the Pakistani capital, we read in Islamabad's Ausaf: VOICE: When President Clinton comes to Pakistan, he should be informed clearly about the hegemonic designs of India. General Pervez Musharraf should not adopt an apologetic posture and should tell President Clinton that India has not only enhanced its defense budget but has also targeted its missiles towards Pakistan. TEXT: Back to Lahore, for these thoughts from the English-language daily, Nation: VOICE: The special treatment being meted out to India is bound to cause considerable concern in Pakistan, which remained an American ally throughout the Cold War. With the announcement that some of the sanctions imposed earlier on India are being withdrawn, the question is bound to be raised in Pakistan whether the country would have been discriminated against if it were ruled by an elected government. TEXT: Turning to President Clinton's earlier visit to Bangladesh, where security concerns caused U-S and Bangladeshi authorities to cancel a visit to the National Memorial, there was dismay from the daily Jugantor, which asserted: VOICE: The cancellation of the visit to the National Memorial for security reasons is an insult to the entire nation ... Although President Clinton has expressed his sincere regrets, our pain will not go away easily. TEXT: Meanwhile, in the English-language Daily Star in the capital, Dhaka, we read a more upbeat assessment of the visit. VOICE: There appears no doubt that the visit ... will deepen and widen the happy state of bilateral relations that have been forged between the two countries over the years ... Someone quipped, if one visit of the U-S president could achieve so much common identity and approach of the two major conflicting political parties, then he should visit Bangladesh more often to resolve many differences that exist between them and evolve a consensus! TEXT: Next we go to the daily newspaper near the top of the world, The Kathmandu Post in Nepal, where we read: VOICE: The Clinton administration's determination to institute intimate relations with a dominant power of each region and influence the vicinity [EDS: "area"] in that manner needs scrutiny and careful examination. At the same time, President Clinton's forthright remarks [on potential dangers in the region] ... require cautious study ... TEXT: And in the other nation of the region, Sri Lanka, Colombo's daily, the Island writes: VOICE: The Indian subcontinent ... has been off the U-S geopolitical radar screen for long years after World War Two. It was only after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in the late `70s that the region came into sharper focus of the U-S State Department ... that is why this Clinton visit is so important to the region. TEXT: And from China, India's neighbor and the dominant power in Asia, we read in Beijing's Morning Post: VOICE: President Clinton's visit to India is described by the media as a strategic shift in American policy toward India. Analysts predict that an improved relationship with India, an open Indian market and tremendous commercial benefits will be the major fruits of President Clinton's trip. TEXT: On that note, we conclude this sampling of press reaction to President Clinton's visit to the sub-continent this week. NEB/ANG/JP 24-Mar-2000 13:43 PM EDT (24-Mar-2000 1843 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .